How to Find the Right Medical Assistant School Near Troy Alabama
Once you have decided to become a part of the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Troy AL, it's time to select a school that will provide the proper training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? Most future students begin by researching the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, internship programs and job assistance are important factors also. You may choose to look into several online medical assistant programs as an alternative as well (more about that later). The bottom line is that before you select a college you must complete your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the schools you are reviewing. And to assist you with that process, we have included a few questions that you need to ask each of the schools on your "maybe" list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
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Medical Assistant Training Programs
Compared to many other medical practitioners, medical assistants are not required to become licensed, certified, or to have a college degree. However, many Troy AL health care employers prefer to hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (we'll cover accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are generally 2 options available for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs usually take about a year to finish, some as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to acquire an Associate Degree, which are usually two year programs provided at community and junior colleges as well as trade and vocational schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant courses. They frequently have a practical element involving an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a related field.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As stated previously, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good choice for graduates who wish to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting a job after graduation, but it may also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Troy AL medical employers simply will not hire a medical assistant that has not obtained accredited formal training or certification. The most popular and possibly the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to apply for the CMA examination, an applicant must be a graduate or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are available also, such as the CMAA and the CCMA that we discussed earlier which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent choice for students who might not have time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is an especially good solution for students who continue working full time while earning their degree or certificate. As an added benefit, a number of online programs have lower tuitions than the more conventional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses such as for textbooks, commuting and school supplies can be lessened as well. But remember that any requirements for clinical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be completed in Troy AL area medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this method of receiving your training may be the ideal choice for you. Between the online courses and the practical training, everything needed to attain proficiency to perform as a medical assistant is furnished.
Topics to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Prior to examining your medical assistant school alternatives, you need to decide which type of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on-campus or online at home. Once those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of researching medical assistant schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students confine their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Troy AL with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are significant qualifiers, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional factors that you should explore when assessing schools. To help you with that task, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate choice.
Is the Medical Assistant School Accredited? There are several great reasons to ensure that the program you select is accredited. To begin with, accreditation helps ensure that the training you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you intend to become certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged organizations for accreditation are the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). If your program is not accredited by either of these organizations, you will not be qualified to take the CMA examination. Additionally, if you plan on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, many prospective Troy AL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School's Passing Rate? The majority of accredited medical assistant colleges create their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. To start with, you need to determine which of the certifications the programs you are considering are preparing their students for. If you are planning on taking the CMA for example, then obviously you will want to select a program focused on that certification. Next, learn what the program's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a school's program. Of course schools with lower rates are ones that you will want to eliminate.
Which Programs are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two routes to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is about one year. Or you can opt to obtain an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about 2 years to complete in a junior college or vocational school. Whatever program you elect to pursue, make certain that the schools you are reviewing offer the type of program you have an interest in.
Are Internships Sponsored? A large number of medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Troy AL area medical care providers. They are an excellent means to get hands-on practical training and experience. They may also assist students establish relationships within the Troy health care community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Landing that initial job may be a challenging task for graduating medical assistant students unless they receive some help from a job placement program. Verify that the colleges you are interviewing offer job placement assistance in the Troy AL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it affirms that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also indicates that it has a large network of contacts to help place students in positions.
How Big are the Classrooms? Class size may be an indicator of how much personal instruction you will get during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish greater access to instructors and face to face interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a program to witness what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue to work on a full time basis, it's imperative that the college you enroll in offers classes that accommodate your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Troy AL, make sure that those times are available. You may be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online program, but you will also need to schedule any clinical training or internships that might be required. Also, find out what the policy is for making up classes that you may have to miss due to work, illness or family issues.
Enroll in the Right Troy Medical Assistant Classes
It's imperative to start your new career on the right foot by selecting a medical assistant program that will provide the right training. Regardless if you're objective is to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your lifetime career, you need to obtain the appropriate information on available programs before making your decision. There are such a large number of colleges offering training nowadays that you can make a decision based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have discussed in this article, confirm that the program you select is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is especially important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, don't forget to ask the questions we have provided in order to evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by selecting the best program you can ultimately begin a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Troy Alabama.